When Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace take their bows at the end of their run at the end of their final show at the Mayflower in Southampton, it won’t just be the finale of the tour.
It will also mark the end of an era for the dancing stars, as they have decided that The Last Tango will be their final stage show.
The former World Argentine Tango Champions were among the stars of BBC’s hit show Strictly Come Dancing for seven years until they decided after the 2012 series to go their own way. By then, they had already scored a huge success with their first stage show, Midnight Tango.
‘When we first started this about six years ago with Midnight Tango,’ Flavia tells WOW247, ‘we didn’t know if it would be well-received, but then three years down the line we’d done three tours and two runs in the West End.
‘Then we did Dance ‘Til Dawn which was another two years and another West End run. We had to think ‘‘should we risk it to create another new show again?’’
‘You never know when you’re creating something from scratch – it can go either way, it can be a great success and people love seeing it, or it might not be as well-received.
It’s going to be a tough week, but when we get there we’ll have done more than 1,000 shows in the past five years, which is quite an achievementFlavia Cacace
‘But we thought let’s take the risk one more time. And this has been a very, very long tour, we started last September and we’ve been on the road ever since.
‘We just both feel that five or six years on the road has been long enough. We push ourselves – we do eight shows a week, it’s never really been six, the majority have been eight a week with the occasional seven.
‘We wanted to tackle some new dance projects and come away from the repetitiveness of performing eight shows a week for a while.
‘And we just want to put our suitcases away for a while!’
The trilogy of shows has seen the pair pushing what is expected of a dance show.
‘We’ve always wanted to tell a story, rather than it just to be a dance show, we wanted some sort of plot. With Midnight Tango it was a very simple story, with Dance ‘Til Dawn we pushed it a bit more with more dialogue.
‘This one is quite an emotional rollercoaster – it’s a beautiful story, and it’s very different to the other two. It’s a bit more minimal and very intimate with the audience.’
The show follows the life story of George – played by Vincent – from the 1920s to the ’70s.
‘There are the happy moments through to some quite sad moments and I think most people can relate to various parts of it.
‘We’ve got an amazing orchestra as always, and the cast – we always do our best to get a cast who are incredible – these guys really are, they can sing dance and act.
‘We’ve still got Teddy Kempner who’s been with us through all three of our shows – he plays the older George – and we’ve kept the same creative team, so we have all the sets and lighting and everything working together.
‘We really pushed the boat out with Dance ‘Til Dawn, which is why we wanted to bring it down a notch with this one.
‘It’s still very much a beautiful set to look at and there’s lots of props and lots going on. But Dance ‘Til Dawn was a real experience for us because it was more storytelling and dialogue than we were used to, but it was a great experience to be part of.’
The duo already have their next project lined up.
They will be joining the cast of a show dubbed ‘the world’s biggest panto,’ alongside the likes of Mel B and Paddy McGuinness, when they appear in Snow White at The Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham and Wembley Arena in London over the festive season.
‘We’ll obviously be dancing, but I think we’ll have some lines too. We want to take on some new challenges and projects, and this certainly is something different for us.
‘It will be performing to about 5,000 people a time, hopefully, but it will hopefully be fun.’
Vincent and Flavia have been dancing together now for 21 years which, as Flavia points out, is longer than some of the dancers on their tour have been alive, ‘which is worrying,’ so although the end of this tour is not the end of them working together it is the end of a significant part of their lives.
‘It’s going to be an intense week in Southampton I think.
‘I think a lot of our lovely fans who’ve been very supportive will be there as well as some family and friends.
‘It’s going to be a tough week, but when we get there we’ll have done more than 1,000 shows in the past five years, which is quite an achievement.’
Although they were hugely successful competitive dancers and holders of several UK and world titles, it was of course appearing on Strictly Come Dancing that brought them into the homes of millions each week.
‘We did that for seven years – after seven years of doing something, you just feel like you want to move on.
‘We kind of experienced everything I think you possibly can on the programme, so it was like ‘‘do you do another year and it might not be as great an experience as previous years or move on?’’
‘And then we had the opportunity to do our own theatre shows, and it was about pushing our boundaries as dancers, as a dance partnership, which you can’t do as much on the show, because you’ve obviously got celebrity partners.
‘It was definitely the right time to leave, we’d pushed the boundaries with so many different elements and learning different styles of dancing, we’d really grown in our own dancing.
‘We were so lucky to be on Strictly when it was still growing every year, and people were really noticing the dance element and starting to love it. We were there at the right time.’
Flavia won the show’s trophy – the glitterball – with Olympic gymnast Louis Smith in 2012.
‘I was very lucky that year. So much is down to who you get, and their mindset and everything.
‘It was very tough on Louis, it wasn’t an easy ride for him at all. He’s got amazing gymnastic skills and abilities but there were a lot of things that weren’t natural to him, like the storytelling, working with a partner, the music side of it, interpreting the characters – it was a massive challenge. We had loads of ups and downs along the way, so to finish on top at the end was amazing.’
Vincent however, made the final twice, but never won – the closest he came was as runner-up with Rachel Stevens.
‘He always says he got the most 10s in any series, I think he still holds that title.’
But do you like to remind him that you won and he didn’t?
‘Always! she laughs. ‘He just says: “Whatever”.’
So even though this show marks an end of Vincent and Flavia’s own stage shows, it won’t be the last we’ll see of them.
‘We’ve always wanted to do a film. We’ve done TV, we’ve done theatre, so film would be the next exciting project.
‘It’s still very early days, and we’re sort of checking out what’s possible and things like that, nothing’s set in stone yet. And again it’s something completely different for us, which is what we want to do.’
n The Last Tango is at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton from July 12 to 16, Shows start at 7.30pm with 2pm matinees on July 14 and 16. Tickets from £19 to £35. Go to mayflower.org.uk or call the box office on 023 8071 1811.